My prayer list starts with me asking for the Lord’s blessing in my own life, to keep me close to Him and make me hunger and thirst and delight in Him and His Word. It is easy in the madness of this life to lose focus on the things of the spirit, the things that really matter; the frailty of relationships, particularly with God Himself, is fraught with the all too human propensity to diminish. Having a hunger and a delight in our Lord and in His Word fosters in me the strength His Spirit gives to my every waking moment, and protects me from the attacks and arrows of the devil. Paul writes in Ephesians 6 “taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This assurance of His protection and guidance, and the knowledge of the Word is vital in our daily walk in the Spirit.
Secondly I prayer for my wife. I’m ashamed to admit that I had not learned from the earliest days of walk in Christ that a daily prayer life is crucial, daily asking the Lord for His blessing and glory and salvation in the lives of my loved ones and friends. Only eventually I learned that it should be a daily exercise, and an important part of my relationship with the King of creation. So I pray for my wife for her joy in salvation, physical healing and protection, and joy in the Word and in her walk with our great God, and that she be a powerful influence for Christ on those she befriends and contacts.
I then mention my family and pray first and foremost for their salvation, that they might enjoy a deep and abiding faith in our remarkable Redeemer. That they can know for certain that by being born again they can see our Lord in the pureness of faith from a newly risen spirit and soul, and enjoy eternity in His comfort and presence. Again, I wish I had learned a long time ago the importance of praying for the salvation of my family. I don’t quite know why it took so long to realize I should be praying specifically for them. I’m appalled at the thought that if they do not come to a saving knowledge of the truth, as Paul writes (2 Timothy 2:5) “with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,” they are outside the life that only comes from our Lord, and are condemned to death. It is an awful and terrifying thought that they might spend eternity outside of His presence. And so I ask, nay beg, that they all may “be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) Like Jesus’ parables of persistence in Luke 11:5 ff, and Luke 18:9, tenacity in prayer can have positive results, perhaps the Lord may relent and draw them to salvation.
After bringing my family before our Saviour in prayer, including in-laws, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, I start with friends, that they also may have the delight of being born again and are imparted a living and exciting faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Who knows, our Heavenly Father might cause them to come to know Him at some point in time. I include the names of some people I have never met but through seeing them in some fashion in the world our Lord has impressed upon me that I pray for them, that they may enjoy life with Him as I do. Who knows, there may not be anyone else in the world praying for that particular individual. Again Paul states (Eph 6:18) “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” Even though he specifically mentions the saints it can be extrapolated to include anyone, after all, he was the greatest evangelist to the Gentiles, i.e., all non-Jews. It was his mission to be a tool to save as many as possible through the Gospel, as he states concerning his ministry in 1 Cor 1:21 “God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
Finally my prayer list concludes by mentioning friends and acquaintances who know the Lord and are in the ministry, to bless them with the wisdom, power, and strength needed to be an instrument in the Spirit to share the Gospel and steal souls from the grasp of Satan. My prayer is for them to have a great delight in the Lord and His Word with which their ministry be driven by joy in Christ and empowered by His Spirit, as no doubt their work in the field is fraught with peril and difficulties.
My priority in prayer is for my family, for their salvation. Should our Lord ask me when I finally make it home, why I was not concerned enough with the eternal state of their souls to bathe them in prayer? I realize now they might have no other advocate on earth for the battle for their soul. It is a privilege to be able to ask my God to give to them the same joy and knowledge of a personal relationship with the great Redeemer and King.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]